Cemetery Junction (film)
Cinematic release poster
|Music by||Tim Atack|
|Editing by||Valerio Bonelli|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||95 minutes|
In 1970s Britain, three friends spend their days joking, drinking, fighting and chasing girls. Freddie (Christian Cooke) wants to leave their working-class world but cool, charismatic Bruce (Tom Hughes) and lovable loser Snork (Jack Doolan) are happy with life the way it is. When Freddie gets a new job as a door-to-door salesman and bumps into his old school sweetheart Julie (Felicity Jones), the gang are forced to make choices that will change their lives forever. Freddie gets a job working for Julie's dad (Ralph Fiennes) selling life insurance.
- Christian Cooke as Freddie Taylor
- Felicity Jones as Julie
- Tom Hughes as Bruce Pearson
- Jack Doolan as Paul/Snork
- Ricky Gervais as Len Taylor
- Julia Davis as Mrs Taylor
- Albert Welling as Mr Waring
- Katy Murphy as Mrs Waring
- Ralph Fiennes as Mr Kendrick
- Emily Watson as Mrs Kendrick
- Burn Gorman as Renwick
- Matthew Goode as Mike Ramsay
- Matthew Holness as Bandleader
- Kirk Yeomans as Voice of Bandleader
- Steve Speirs as Sgt Wyn Davies
- Anne Reid as Freddie's Gran
- Michael Jibson as Cliff
- Francis Magee as Mr Pearson
- Imdad Miah as Salesman #1
- David Earl as Brian the Cafe owner
- Bryony Hannah as Louise the Waitress
- Simone Richards as a Cafe worker
- Stephen Merchant as Dougie
The film was originally titled The Man from the Pru, a colloquial term (and later an advertising slogan) for agents of the Prudential insurance company. During the writing of the film, the Prudential allowed Gervais and Merchant to use their archives for research. However, after reading the finished script, the company decided it was not pleased with how the company was to be portrayed in the film and decided not to allow their name to be used. The new title comes from the name of the Cemetery Junction in the Newtown district of the town of Reading where the film takes place.
Principal photography began on 15 June 2009, Filming locations included Taylors Bell Foundry and the Great Central Railway using Loughborough Central railway station. However, the intermittent scenes which show the camera panning around a countryside landscape were filmed in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Several of the street scenes were filmed in Woodstock, Oxfordshire with Woodstock Town Hall being used to portray the exterior of the Cemetery Junction police station. An extended trailer was broadcast on Channel 4 on 31 January 2010.
Cemetery Junction is set in a small town in 1973. Gervais explained that the title of the film was taken from Cemetery Junction, Reading, an area he knew as a child – an actual road junction in Reading, where Wokingham Road divides from London Road. Gervais also adds "[...] it's not really set in Reading, it's any small town, anywhere in the world to be honest." According to him, it is a "coming of age" story that is a cross between The Office and Mad Men.
In an interview with BBC Radio 2's Danny Wallace on 9 January 2010, Merchant stated the script was loosely based upon the lyrics of the Bruce Springsteen song "Thunder Road". This sentiment was repeated by Gervais on 12 April 2010 when he appeared on The Graham Norton Show.
Gervais told BBC South Today that British "kitchen sink" films such as Saturday Night and Sunday Morning were an influence on the film.
Junction is probably the most personal of all my work so far. Sure, I worked in an office for 8 years as a middle manager, like that David Brent, then I worked my way up in TV like that Andy Millman, and like most comedians, my stand up is observational. But Cemetery Junction is not only based on my memories of my most formative years but it feeds on the most fundamental things in the making of a man: family, economics, the time and place you happened to be plonked in. Even though the movie is a fiction, the values, themes and characters are based on my memory of growing up in Reading in the early 70s. The soundtrack had to reflect that. It's purely coincidence that the songs in the film happen to be some of my favourites. (Just one of the perks of being a writer/director/producer/failed pop star).
The soundtrack for the film includes the following:
- "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)", written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, performed by Elton John.
- "Amazona", written by Bryan Ferry/Phil Manzanera, performed by Roxy Music.
- "Life's A Gas", written by Marc Bolan, performed by T Rex.
- "All the Young Dudes", words and music by David Bowie, performed by Mott the Hoople, featured vocals by David Bowie.
- "The Rain Song", written by Jimmy Page/Robert Plant, performed by Led Zeppelin.
Reviews of the film were generally mixed. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film 57% based on 35 professional reviews, summing them up as: "It fails to challenge the well-established conventions of its storyline, but Cemetery Junction benefits from the genuine warmth of its script, as well as its refusal to give in to cheap nostalgia."
Total Film magazine giving it four out of five stars and calling it "the most confident British debut since Shallow Grave". Time Out magazine gave the film three stars and said it was "refreshing to see a mainstream British film with the ambition to strut its stuff on studio terms". Adam Smith of the Radio Times commented that "it's deftly written, unobtrusively directed and nicely acted" and also gave it three stars. OK! appreciated the "sweet characters and good actors" and also liked "the vintage look of the film" and the "great supporting cast". The Daily Mirror gave the film a very positive review awarding it four stars and saying; "The film is no simple-minded laugh-fest, but rather an astute, amusing and engaging coming-of-age tale with a killer soundtrack of 1970s classics".
On the other hand, Uncut called it a "passable, mildly diverting, coming-of-age Brit-flick". Andrew Barker of Variety wrote, "It's a strange hybrid of a film, boasting loudmouth boorishness instead of wit, and fortune-cookie schmaltz instead of heart." Peter Bradshaw reviewed the film for The Guardian and concluded that the film "is entertaining as far as it goes, but it would have to be fully and Gervaisishly funny, or else fully nasty, vinegary and sad before everyone involved was, to coin a phrase, up the junction."
The film's opening weekend receipts were £641,218. By the end of its theatrical run in the UK, the film had taken in £1,329,002.
Cemetery Junction was released in the UK in both DVD and Blu-ray format on 30 August 2010. The DVD bonus features include a commentary track from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, deleted scenes and two featurettes including interviews with the cast and crew. The Blu-ray release also includes several additional featurettes.
Columbia Pictures decided not to theatrically release the film in the company's home market. Accordingly, the film was released on DVD in the US and Canada by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on 17 August 2010.
- "Television interview with Jonathan Ross", Friday Night with Jonathan Ross (BBC One), 4 September 2009
- Shaw, Gareth (21 April 2009). "Pru Blocks Gervais Film Name". Money Management. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
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- Gervais, Ricky. "Ricky Gervais on the Cemetery Junction soundtrack". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 April 2010.
- "Soundtracks for Cemetery Junction (2010)" at imdb.com
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- Lowe, Andy (15 March 2010). "Cemetery Junction Review". Time Out. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
- "Cemetery Junction film review". Radio Times. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
- "Movie Reviews :: Review: Cemetery Junction". OK!. 13 April 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
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- Barker, Andrew (8 August 2010). "Film Reviews: Cemetery Junction". Variety. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
- Bradshaw, Peter (15 April 2010). "Cemetery Junction: Film Review". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
- "page for US DVD release". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-12-04.